OSWEGO — The Oswego County Pioneer Search and Rescue (SAR) Team continues to accept applications for its 2020 training academy.

The 75-hour course provides a thorough introduction to Search and Rescue techniques and meets the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) minimum requirements for search and rescue training. The academy will be held in conjunction with the Onondaga County Wilderness SAR Team.

Classes will be held Wednesday evenings and one or two weekends a month at various locations in Oswego and Onondaga counties. Classes will start Feb. 26; the final exam with field testing will be June 14.

Applications are due Jan. 31 and are available at the Pioneer Search and Rescue Team web site. Completed applications including references should be mailed to Oswego County Search and Rescue Team, PO Box 229, Parish, NY 13131-0229.

Class size is limited to 20 students.

All applicants will be contacted and interviewed prior to selection to the academy. As soon as the class selection is finalized, applicants will be contacted. Individuals who are not accepted into the class will have their money refunded.

“The training academy is open to all interested individuals, regardless of where they live, and is offered for a fee to cover the cost of student manuals and supplies,” said Aaron Albrecht, team coordinator of the Oswego County Pioneer SAR Team. “Applicants do not need to live in Oswego County. Students should be in good health, be at least 18 years of age, and capable of passing a moderate physical fitness test. Graduates of the academy who are accepted onto a local SAR team may be eligible to have their course fee reimbursed.”

Classes will cover map and compass, global positioning systems, wilderness first aid, man-tracking, wilderness survival, radio communications, search techniques, cold weather emergencies, crime scene preservation, the National Incident Management Systems (NIMS), and a variety of other topics.

Individuals who complete the academy will be certified as a NYS DEC Basic Wildlands Searcher, certified in Wilderness First Aid, American Heart Association CPR, certified as a Project Lifesaver Electronic Search Specialist, and will have received all of the necessary training and skill practice to certify as a NYS DEC ASTM Level I Searcher, once they acquire actual SAR experience. Students are expected to attend all classes, complete all assignments, and pass all written and practical testing.

The Oswego County Pioneer Search and Rescue Team is an all-volunteer unit, founded in 1971, and funded through community donations and grants. The team is the primary Search and Rescue resource for Oswego County and works closely with the Oswego County Sheriff’s Department, the NYS DEC Forest Rangers, NYS Police, and other law enforcement agencies.

For more information, or to contact the team, visit the team’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OCPSAR.

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